Researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy have been hard at work tagging great whites off the coast of Massachusetts this summer, and now, at the end of a long season, they have captured what they assert is the “holy grail” of shark attack photos.
The striking image was captured by the conservancy’s spotter pilot, Wayne Davis, on October 28. While the team was operating off Monomoy, Massachusetts, they witnessed an attack behind their boat as a great white struck a seal. In a post on the Conservancy’s Facebook page, Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program noted how lucky they were to observe the attack.
“Yesterday was truly a remarkable day. We tagged our 18th white shark of the season, which surpasses our record of 17 white sharks tagged in 2012. But the highlight of the day was seeing a very large white shark prey on a seal right behind our boat. Although we know it happens, not many people have actually witnessed this incredibly powerful event. What a spectacular way to close out our five-month sampling season!”
Another aerial photo from spotter pilot Wayne Davis of yesterday’s white shark predation of a seal off Monomoy. pic.twitter.com/wSJ6dzdjaz
— Atlantic White Shark (@A_WhiteShark) October 29, 2014
As the Boston Globe has previously noted, white sharks are in no hurry to leave the waters off Cape Cod. According to Dr. Skomal, several great whites will likely remain in the area until December, preying on the local seal population before they migrate south to warmer waters.
“It’s not weird to see sharks this time of year,” Skomal said.
The conservancy is engaged in what Dr. Skomal hopes will be a five-year-long population study focused on great whites, as the Cape Cod Times has previously observed. Skomal and his team have identified 60 great whites in Cape Cod waters during this first year of the study, though they acknowledge there are likely more that haven’t been observed by the team.
Though a number of white sharks have visited the ocean off Massachusetts, there have been relatively few interactions between beachgoers and the predators. As the Inquisitr previously noted, a pair of kayakers were struck by a white shark off Plymouth earlier this year, after they ventured close to group of seals. Though they were knocked from their kayaks during the attack, neither were injured, and the great white shark did not return.
[Image: Wayne Davis via Atlantic White Shark Conservancy]